Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and the world over will observe the Kashmir Martyrs Day, tomorrow, as Istiqlal Day, to reaffirm their resolve to continue the martyrs’ mission till its logical conclusion.
It was on July 13 in 1931 when the Dogra troops shot dead 22 Kashmiris, one after the other, in front of Srinagar Central Jail.
The day will be marked by seminars and conferences in Srinagar, Muzaffarabad and world capitals and a massive march towards the martyrs’ graveyard at Naqashband Sahib in Srinagar, where 1931 martyrs are buried. Call for the march has been given by the All Parties Hurriyet Conference Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the forum patronised by veteran Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani.
In a bid to foil the march, the occupation authorities continued to place the APHC Chairman under house arrest while Hurriyet leaders including Shabbir Ahmed Shah and Nayeem Ahmad Khan have already been put behind the bars.
The Mirwaiz in a statement issued in Srinagar said, after reaching the martyrs’ graveyard, the people will march towards the United Nations Observers’ Office in Sonawar. He maintained that the march would be conducted, come what may.
Meanwhile, life remained crippled in Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Handwara, Bandipora, Kupwara, Islamabad and other major cities and towns of the Kashmir Valley, today, due to a civil curfew called by the forum patronised by Syed Ali Gilani, to express solidarity with the Kashmiri detainees. Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed while transport was off the road. The Kashmir University and the Board of School Education postponed their examinations in view of the prevailing situation.
In a major crackdown on protesters, Indian police have detained nearly 150 youth from across the Kashmir Valley for participating in anti-India protests during the past fortnight.
Indian troops, in their fresh act of state terrorism, martyred one more innocent Kashmiri youth in Sarawan area of Kishtwar district. An Assistant Sub-Inspector of Indian police was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Trade Facility Centre in Poonch.
In Brussels, the Chairman of Kashmir Centre, Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo, in a statement paid rich tributes to the 1931 martyrs. He appealed to the world community to impress upon India to settle the Kashmir dispute, once for all.
Youme Shuada – e – Kashmir
By Sajjad Shaukat
Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir (Martyrs’ Day) is observed on July 13 every year on both sides of the Line of Control and all over the world by the Kashmiris to pay homage to 22 Kashmiris who were martyred in 1931 to free Kashmir from the brutalities of despotic Dogra rulers. The day is the milestone in the history of Kashmiri struggle against foreign occupation.
The history of Dogra rule (1846-1947) in Kashmir is replete with tyrannous treatment, meted out to the Kashmiri Muslims by Dogra forces. Under the Dogra rule, they were leading so miserable life that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, heavy taxes, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant terror was order of the day.
In this connection, Yousaf Saraf in his book, ‘Kashmiris Fight for Freedom’ calls it “free forced labour” and “instead of donkeys and horses, Kashmiri Muslims were used for transportation of goods across the far-flung areas”.
Atrocities of the Dogra regime could also be judged from the book of Sir Walter Lawrence, ‘The India We Served’. While describing the pathetic picture of the Kashmiris, he remarks, “army was employed in forcing the villagers to plough and sow, and worse still, the soldiers came at harvest time and when the share of the state had been seized” and “there was very little grain to tide the unfortunate peasants over the cruel winter.”
Under that tyrannical regime, political rights could not be imagined; even the religious rights had been segregated away from the Muslims of the state.
On April 19, 1931, the ban of Eid Khutba ignited widespread demonstrations in the Jummu city for a number of days. It was followed by desecration of the Holy Qur’an at the hands of Dogra forces, which resulted into outrage among the Muslims throughout the state. In Srinagar, people gathered in Jamia Masjid to denounce this blasphemy. One such get-together was held in Khankah-e-Muella Srinagar, which was addressed by prominent Kashmiris. When the meeting was concluded, a youth, Abdul Qadeer, pointing his finger to the Maharaja’s palace, raised slogans “destroy its every brick”. With the accusation of sedition, he was arrested forthwith. Abdul Qadir was to be tried in the court but due to large public resentment, the court was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.
On July 12, 1931, in response to the shifting of court, intense public protests were held throughout the city. The next day, on July 13, 1931, thousands of people thronged the Central Jail Srinagar to witness the in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer. As the time for obligatory prayer approached, a young Kashmiri stood for Azan. The Dogra Governor, Ray Zada Tartilok Chand ordered soldiers to open fire at him. When he got martyred, another young man took his place and started Azan. He was also shot dead. In this way, 22 Kashmiris embraced martyrdom in their efforts to complete the Azan.
The people carried the dead and paraded through the streets of Srinagar, chanting slogans against Dogra brutalities. Complete strike was observed in the city, which was followed by weeklong mourning. This incident shook the whole state and the traffic from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Srinagar to Jammu came to halt from July 13 to 26, 1931. The 22 martyrs are buried in Martyrs’ Graveyard at Khawaja Bazar, Srinagar.
The atrocities against the Kashmiri Muslims did not stop even after the partition of India. The human rights record of Indian government in the occupied Kashmir has been terrible and is characterized by arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and extrajudicial killings.
Since 1989 when liberation of Kashmir entered a new phase, Indian military troops have been using all inhuman tactics of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris.
Today’s Kashmir presents the worst possible case of state terrorism where Indian forces threaten to eliminate entire masses engaged in demanding implementation of the United Nations resolutions. Various methods of state terrorism such as breaking the leg, burning of a village, custodial killings etc., are mercilessly used against the innocent Kashmirirs, demanding their legitimate right of freedom. More than half million people have been massacred by the Indian troops so far.
In the recent past, discovery of nearly 3000 graves of the unmarked Muslims in the 18 villages of Indian controlled Kashmir surprised the international community, displaying new evidence regarding New Delhi’s state terrorism there.
It is notable that ‘composite dialogue’ between India and Pakistan took place on a number of occasions, but produced no outcome, prolonging the agony of the subjugated people of the occupied Kashmir due to Indian intransigence.
Nevertheless, observance of Kashmiris’ freedom struggle on the Martyrs’ day every year is reaffirmation of the fact that Kashmiris will continue to fight against Indian illicit occupation. In this respect, Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir is an ideal day for Kashmiris to seek inspiration to carry their struggle for freedom to its logical end. At this time of distress, the people of Pakistan side with the oppressed ones in sharing the grief of Kashmiri freedom lovers. Pakistan also observes Youme Shudaha-e-Kashmir on July 13, launching a protest against the oppressive polices of Indian occupation, which has continued against the hapless Kashmiris.
However, on July 13, all over the world, Kashmiris renew their pledge to continue the ongoing war of liberation for the accomplishment of their right of self-determination and for the independence of occupied terroritoris from the despotic Indian rule.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book:
US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org